Stumbling Ahead, Chapter 4

Then, something clicked in my head. “Hell,” I thought. “Why not? I can do whatever I want to do. It doesn’t matter, anyway. It’s all just a silly game. I’m in a fantasy land. I’m clueless!”

I got in the car and drove like a maniac, screeching around corners, zig-zagging from lane to lane, the usual, I guessed. I stopped at a corner store and bought a six-pack of Red Stripe, got in the car, opened a bottle, started the car, pulled out of the parking lot, then started chugging away. Michael looked at me with a concerned look on his face. “Dad, you’re not supposed to drink and drive!” “I know, Michael,” I said. “But right now, I don’t care.”

I slowed to a stop at the first red light, then, changed my mind. I floored the gas pedal, and we took off. We didn’t get far before I heard a police siren behind us. I looked in the rear view mirror and saw the flashing lights of a police car. But I wasn’t in the mood to stop, so I decided I’d do my best to try to lose him. I saw a dump truck up ahead, so, when I passed it, I took a sharp turn in front of it, then into a grocery store parking lot. I sped along, cutting across parking aisles, dodging other cars that were scattered throughout the lot. I took a sharp turn when I got to the end of the building, dashed to the back alley, then tore around the corner and through the back passageway. There were empty crates, a couple dumpsters, and more cars and a delivery truck back there. I twisted and turned around all the obstacles, screeched around the opposite corner of the building, then out into the next street. I took off down the road, then looked in my mirror. Nothing. The police car was gone. All that, and he wasn’t even behind me. I didn’t even hear a siren. “Weird,” I thought. “Did I lose him, or was he not even after me? Hmmm…”

I thought again, “Who cares, anyway!” Just then, I looked over at Michael. He looked terrified. He was hunched up in a ball, clinging to the side of his seat. “Dad,” he said, under his breath. “Are you okay?” “I’m fine, Michael,” I said. “How are you?” “I’m okay. Do you think you could drive a little slower for a while? I’m a little sick to my stomach.”

I said, “Sure, no problem. I’ll try to chill out a little bit, okay?” “Okay,” said Michael. “That would be good.” I thought to myself, then, “I’ve got to get a grip on things. I’m losing my mind.” Then, I started to phase out a little bit. As we cruised down the road at a respectable 45 miles per hour, I started having memories, at least, I thought they were memories. I really couldn’t be sure.

Anyway, my thoughts were of being in high school, at the prom. Nothing exciting was happening, really. I was sitting at a dining table in a big room. Next to me, sat my date. After a few minutes of just sitting there not talking, and bored, in general, my date passed me a little tablet. “Here,” she said. “It will take the edge off things.” Then, she said, “Put it under your tongue.” Although I had no idea what it was, or what she meant by that, I tried it. Then, things got kind of blurry. The room started to spin. I got dizzy. My next memory was sitting in someone’s living room, watching other teenagers passing a small pipe. It had sort of a sweet smell. My date from the prom was there, too. I couldn’t remember her name, but, somehow, she seemed important. “I wonder if that was my wife,” I thought. She did seem very familiar. It could have been a close friend or something, I guessed.

“I’m ready to go home,” said Michael. His words brought me back to the present, pulling me away from my “trip” down memory lane. “Hmmm..” I said. “Maybe, that would be wise.” Sometimes you need a twelve year old to talk some sense into you. I slowed down, pulled into a left turn lane, then orchestrated a u-turn, heading back towards home.


Author: Gordon S. Bowman III

Writer, Visual Artist, Blogger, Advocate

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